Matthew 2:1-2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
Psalm 72 is one of the psalms that the Jewish people have identified as a ‘Messianic Psalm’ – that is, one of the several songs in their psalter that is specifically prophesying about the Coming of their Promised Messiah King. It is interesting for us (as it would be for them) to reflect on what Matthew is reporting concerning the birth of Jesus.
Here are some of the things that Psalm 72 foreshadows: “He will defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; he will crush the oppressor. He will endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon, through all generations. He will be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the earth. In his days the righteous will flourish; prosperity will abound till the moon is no more. He will rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. The desert tribes will bow before him and his enemies will lick the dust. The kings of Tarshish and of distant shores will bring tribute to him; the kings of Sheba and Seba will present him gifts. All kings will bow down to him and all nations will serve him. … … Long may he live! May gold from Sheba be given to him. May people ever pray for him and bless him all day long. … … Praise be to his glorious name for ever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen” (verses 4-11, 15, 19).
It is not hard to recognise the source of Isaac Watts’ great hymn, ‘Jesus shall reign where’er the sun’ in this psalm, nor to see its fulfilment in the Sovereign Lord God bringing ‘Magi from [distant shores in] the East’ to worship the new-born child in Bethlehem with their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. It is so sad that the Jewish race as a whole have missed this clear sign given to them, but praise God for many individual Jews who have had their eyes opened and have come to know, trust and praise their Messiah.
Let us pray for God’s blessing on the important task of Jewish evangelism today through organisations like International Mission to Jewish People (IMJP).
– Bruce Christian